During the fall college application frenzy we should take a moment and reflect on what goes into creating a compelling admission application. Yes, it is the students' opportunity to tell their story, and for some applications it is a more elaborate process than others. And while it is true that the students must take sole responsibility for the applications they submit, they aren’t completing these profiles in a vacuum.
At the very least parents are usually involved. If they are not helping create the college list itself, they are often taking the students on endless college tours and are usually the ones paying for the application fees and filling out the majority of the financial aid paperwork. Usually they are also the ones footing the bill for a college education so they are indeed intimately involved in the process.
High school counselors, teachers and perhaps the registrar or office secretary are an integral part of the applications as well. Besides counselors spending endless hours in the role of counseling, they are often the ones that pen recommendations, send transcripts and other supporting documents. Teachers take time away from preparing for classes and grading assignments to write supportive letters of recommendation. Many of these letters authored by the counselors and teachers are done on weekends or evenings, taking time away from their personal lives to endorse a student’s application for admission. Registrars and office personnel make sure transcripts and other official school documents are sent in a timely manner.
Most students will make several attempts at a college admission essay, rewriting and editing until they feel their voice resonates from their written word. The same can be said for those supporting the college application by writing letters and submitting additional documents on the student’s behalf. Teachers and counselors will often compose several drafts, perhaps consulting others who also interact with the student to make sure they are giving as thorough an endorsement as possible. So, if you as a student are going to take extra time to craft the best possible essay you can, don’t you also want those who are supporting you to do the same? This is a plea on behalf of the thousands of high school counselors, teachers and staff who are working to support your college applications – give them as much lead time as possible so they can also put their best effort forward in your support.
And once your applications are complete and submitted – don’t forget to thank your “village” of supporters!